After some adequate results in the preseason, the regular season is quickly reading like the same old story.
The Ponoka Stampeders remain without a victory, or even a point, four games into the Heritage Junior B Hockey League season after a pair of big losses on the weekend.
A road trip south to Cochrane on Sept. 30 saw the Stamps blanked 8-0, followed by a return home Oct. 1 only to get dumped 7-0 by Okotoks.
The results, and quite possibly the effort over the weekend, may have combined for some overwhelming emotions for new head coach Matt Williams as he didn’t want to make any comments following the game Sunday.
As was the case in the opening weekend for the Stamps, special teams was a huge factor in Cochrane although for all the wrong reasons.
Cochrane scored twice while shorthanded as well as added a pair of powerplay goals, in a contest where the team had just three man advantage opportunities compared to Ponoka’s seven chances with the extra attacker.
In addition, the Stamps were horribly outshot on the night 43-23 by Cochrane. That included the home side doubling up Ponoka on the shot clock in both of the first two periods.
Taylor McLawghlin took his third straight loss of the season, managing to turn aside 35 shots on the night.
Things looked better on home ice against Okotoks, though the result wound up the same.
Okotoks scored just 34 seconds into the game and then added three goals each in the second and third periods for the win.
The Stamps did wind up on the short side of the shot clock again, 36-32 this time. However, Ponoka generated more scoring chances than the previous night, outshooting Okotoks 10-7 in the first and 15-14 in the second before losing some steam in the third.
Penalty killing this game was stellar on both sides, with each team having five powerplays and just one goal scored early in the third.
Hoof Prints – Ponoka was a bit shorthanded on Sunday, icing just 16 forwards. The club also gave Ponoka native Alex Mercer his first start between the pipes, stopping 30 shots, several of which came on odd man rushes and a few breakaways by Okotoks. The Stamps are home this weekend to a pair of south division squads. They face Strathmore on Oct. 7 (game time 8:30 p.m.) followed on Oct. 8 (game time 3 p.m.) versus High River.